UEFA Champions League draw: As it happened

The four-team groups start play on September 17 and finish on December 11, with the round-of-16 drawn taking place on December 16.

UEFA’s draw ceremony begins in Monaco at 2130 IST, which also includes awards presented to the best men’s and women’s players in Europe last season.   -  Getty Images

Hello and welcome to Sportstar's LIVE coverage of the UEFA Champions League group stage draw.

 

 

— That brings today's ceremony to an end. The groups are done for the new season and we'll be back soon with live coverage of the matches through the season. Let us know your thoughts about the draw, the awards and anything else on Twitter.

You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram. Goodbye ad goodnight.

— The UEFA Men's player of the year award goes to Virgil Van Dijk!

— The last activity for the day, the UEFA Men's Player of the Year. And the contenders are Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Virgil Van Dijk.

Lucy Bronze wins the UEFA Women's Player of the Year award.

— UEFA Women's Player of the Year contenders: Lucy Bronze, Ada Hegerberg and Amendine Henry.

— The UEFA Men's and Women's player of the year awards will conclude the presentation for the night.

Here's the full, completed groups:

Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray

Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur, Olympiakos, Red Star Belgrade

Group C: Manchester City, Shaktar, Dinamo Zagreb, Atalanta

Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Locomotiv Moscow

Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, FC Salzburg, Genk

Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan, Slavia Prague

Group G: Zenit Saint Petersburg, Benfica, RB Leipzig, Lyon

Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille

 

— The final pot comes up and with that, we will have our groups set by the end of it.

Atalanta is in group C, RB Leipzig is in group G, Locomotiv Moscow is in group D, Slavia Prague is in group F, LOSC Lille is in group H, Genk is in group E, Red Star Belgrade is in group B and that means Galatasaray goes into group A.

— Lionel Messi wins the UEFA Forward of the season award. He won the Golden Boot last season.

— Here's how the (updated) groups look:

Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Brugge

Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur, Olympiakos

Group C: Manchester City, Shaktar, Dinamo Zagreb

Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen

Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, FC Salzburg

Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter Milan

Group G: Zenit Saint Petersburg, Benfica

Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia

— Back to the draw and it's the turn of teams from pot three to find out their future.

First team out of the pot is Inter Milan and it will play with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in group F. Bayer Leverkusen will play in group D with Juventus and Atletico Madrid. Valencia is group H with Chelsea and Ajax. FC Salzburg is in group E, with Liverpool and Napoli. Dinamo Zagreb is in group C with Manchester City and Shaktar. Olympiakos is in group B with Bayern Munich and Tottenham Hotspur. Club Brugge is in group A with PSG and Real Madrid. Lyon is in group G with Zenit Saint Petersburg and Benfica.

UEFA Midfielder of the year award is picked up by ex-Ajax star Frenkie de Jong, who now plays in Spain with Barcelona.

— Here's how the groups look as of now:

Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid

Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham Hotspur

Group C: Manchester City, Shaktar

Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid

Group E: Liverpool, Napoli

Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund

Group G: Zenit Saint Petersburg, Benfica

Group H: Chelsea, Ajax

— Right, back to the draw. The teams from the second pot are being now.

Tottenham Hotspur joins Bayern Munich in group B while last season's semifinalist Ajax is in group H with Chelsea. Borussia Dortmund slots into group F alongside Barcelona, Benfica is with Zenith in group G and Spanish giant Real Madrid is in group A with PSG. FC Shaktar is in group C with Manchester City, Carlo Ancelloti's Napoli is group E with Liverpool and the last team from the second pot Atletico Madrid will be in group D with Juventus.

— And we interrupt the draw to give Liverpool center-back Virgil Van Dijk the UEFA Defender of the year award.

"Enjoyed every bit of it, we deserved it,"he says, adding "This season starts all over again and we want to defend our title. It will be tough but we will see what happenes."

The final is in Istanbul and we know how much Liverpool, and its fans, love playing in that city!

— The first team out of the pot is Paris Saint-Germain. And the French champion goes into group A. Next is German champion Bayern Munich, which goes into group B. English champion Manchester City is in group C and Italian champion Juventus is in group D. The Champions League holder Liverpool is in group E while the Spanish champion Barcelona is in group F. Zenit St. Petersburg is in group G and Europa League holder Chelsea goes into group H.

— We're now going the yearly-explanation of how the draw for the group stage works, how teams have been seeded into different pots, the possibility of two teams from the same association being draw in the same group being zero and the like.

Goalkeeper of the year award goes to Liverpool's Alisson Becker.

Wesley Sneijder is one of the two stars who will be helping out with the draw today. Interestingly, he played with Altintop at Galatasary in Turkey.

Regarding his Champions League triumph with Inter Milan, he says, "It's the most valuable prize you can win as a player." Discussing retirement, the former Netherlands midfielder reflects that he is happy to be helping young players develop now.

The other is Petr Cech, who recently announced his retirement from football.  "I had lost the final once, so you never want to experience that again," he says. "You have to have the confidence that you know you can do it."

Hamit Altıntop is the ambassador for the 2019-20 Champions League, since the final is set to be played at the Atatürk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.

— First up is the President's Award and UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has picked Eric Cantona is the recipient of the award this year.

The ex-Manchester United star says that science will soon give humans the potential to be eternal and ends his speech with "I love football."

— Right, here we go! The draw ceremony has started, beginning with highlights of last season.

THE DRAW POTS

Pot 1: Liverpool, Chelsea, Barcelona, Manchester City, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Zenit St. Petersburg.

Pot 2: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk, Tottenham, Ajax, Benfica.

Pot 3: Lyon, Bayer Leverkusen, Salzburg, Olympiakos, Club Brugge, Valencia, Inter Milan, Dinamo Zagreb.

Pot 4: Lokomotiv Moscow, Genk, Galatasaray, Leipzig, Slavia Prague, Red Star Belgrade, Atalanta, Lille.

Preview

Ajax has completed the 32-team Champions League line-up that sees Liverpool spearhead another English challenge in the group-stage draw on Thursday.

After all-English finals in both UEFA club competitions last season, defending champion Liverpool, Premier League title holder Manchester City and Europa League winner Chelsea are all in the pot of eight top-seeded teams.

Runner-up Tottenham is joined in the pot of second-seeded teams by Ajax, its semi-final opponent last season which advanced from the playoff round on Wednesday.

England seeks to lift European soccer’s most iconic trophy for the 14th time. Spain has a record 18 titles, though those were won by just two clubs — 13 for Real Madrid, five for Barcelona.

Five different English clubs have won the competition which kicked off 64 years ago. A familiar group of national champions from Europe’s top leagues completes the top-seeded pot: Barcelona, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and, back after a three-year gap, Zenit St. Petersburg.

USD 2.1 BILLION PRIZE FUND

The 32 teams, from 16 different countries, will again share prize money of 1.95 billion euros (USD 2.16 billion) from UEFA. The total revenue is 3.25 billion ($3.6 billion) for broadcasting and commercial sales across the Champions League, Europa League and season-opening Super Cup.

The title winner in Istanbul on May 30 should get at least 100 million euros (USD 111 million). All 32 clubs get a basic fee of 15.25 million euros (USD 16.9 million) plus more based on match results, a share of national television rights, and a ranking of their historical record in UEFA competitions.

Seeding the Teams

UEFA’s seeding for pots 2 to 4 grades teams by their Champions League and Europa League results in the previous five years. Last season, Liverpool and Ajax both emerged from pot No. 3.

Of 11 former European champions in the draw, four will come from the pot of second-seeded teams: Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax and Benfica.

Third-seeded teams include Salzburg, which is entering the group stage for the first time in 24 years with new American coach Jesse Marsch. The Austrian champion had several playoff failures when owned by energy drink maker Red Bull.

Atalanta from Italy makes its Champions League debut as a dangerous outsider among low-ranked teams. Leipzig and Lille, the French runner-up, are also teams from Europe’s big five leagues which landed in pot No. 4.

Leipzig can be in the same group as Salzburg due to UEFA deciding two years ago there was no conflict of ownership interest after Red Bull cut some ties to the Austrian club. The teams played in the same Europa League group last season.

UEFA restrictions in the draw prevent teams from the same country being in the same group, and keeps Russian and Ukrainian teams apart due to political tensions. That rule was imposed in 2014 after Russia annexed the Crimea region from Ukraine.

Russia Up, Portugal Down

Russia’s rise to be UEFA’s sixth-ranked national league, with two guaranteed places, has exposed a relative decline of Portugal’s clubs.

Only Benfica is in the draw after Portugal had three teams in the 2017 group stage and two last season. The league runner-up now enters the third qualifying rounds, and Porto was ousted by Krasnodar, a Russian debutant which lost in the playoffs to Olympiakos on Tuesday. Olympiakos, the Greek runner-up, plays in its 19th Champions League group campaign.

Red Star’s Trek

For the second straight season, Red Star Belgrade was the only team that advanced through four qualifying rounds since early July. Red Star, in pot No. 4, can be drawn with third-seeded Dinamo Zagreb, its big rival in the former Yugoslavia national league which broke up in 1991.

WHAT, WHEN, WHERE, HOW TO WATCH

UEFA’s one-hour draw ceremony begins in Monaco at 6 p.m. local time (1600 GMT/2130 IST). It also includes awards presented to the best men’s and women’s players in European soccer last season.

The four-team groups start play on Sept. 17 and finish Dec. 11. The round-of-16 knockout pairings are drawn on Dec. 16.

Sony network has live coverage of the draw and it can be streamed on the Sony Liv app too.